Eisenstein Dynamic Frame

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Mustafa Umut Sarac, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Soviet Cinematographer Eisenstein was defending a dynamic frame for cinema which aspect ratio continiues to change.
    How one can do this ?

    Best,

    Umut
    Istanbul
     
  2. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Is he also the person who said that he would've preferred that the panoramic aspect was used vertically instead of horizontally?

    A dynamic frame is a fascinating idea!
     
  3. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    You have a normal screen but, on certain scenes, you put a black frame on the frame :wink: .
    Not difficult at all. Doesn't require any modification to projection hardware as well. The public might be a bit disturbed by the effect, though, and I think I would as well.

    A cinema film is not a series of frames. It tells you a story and you end up being "inside" the story and thinking that it is reality. A "corner" of your brain takes it for real, while the other corners of your brain know that it is just a film.

    The success of any form of "fiction", be it prose theatre, opera, or cinema, depends on this mechanism of fooling (one part of) your brain into believing what it sees.

    Whatever distracts you will prevent this "fiction" to fool your brain. Any time the projection format changes (by use of simple black frames in the frame) your brain is reminded that you are not seeing something happening but only a projection of a film.
     
  4. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    As a once post production supervisor I would have the optical printer in the lab, under instruction regarding the director's desires, insert the appropriate masks. It would be assumed that the cinematographer had been informed when original photography took place that this framing would be happening. I certainly wouldn't expect or trust a projectionist to undertake it.

    As a viewer I suspect that I would find it very disconcerting and distracting, but Eisenstein was working in a time of extensive experimentation, some of which worked, some not: how often do you see his more extended dialectic theory of montage these days?
     
  5. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    What I do see from HollyBollywood is not at the level for judging Eisenstein negatively.
     
  6. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    If your answer is in relation to my post, I will clarify what I meant in my previous post.

    The projectionist does nothing but his usual work. The projected "frame" (the film surface) has a certain standard height, and a certain standard width. When a different orientation or side "ratio" is desired, the film frame is partly occupied, on the film itself, by a black area, a "black frame", so that the image which gets projected is the entire film frame, but the image that the public sees is only what is inside the "black frame".

    The misunderstanding arises probably from the fact that in English frame (fotogramma, the single shot) is the same word as frame (cornice) the thing you put around a painting.

    The projected fotogramma when needed includes a black cornice which surrounds the "new oriented frame" so as to give the impression of a different orientation.

    This can be done on the cinecamera by using masks in front of the film when needed.
     
  7. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I am seeing this technique in my head, used to good effect. It would require a very dynamic frame, that is, one that is animated. If the cornice just suddenly changed, it would indeed be very unsettling. But imagine if our cornice moved in a fluid motion from one orientation to the next; almost as though you were looking through the viewfinder of a camera and switching it to portrait from landscape, or vise versa.

    Ideally you'd shoot on a square format, and the manner in which you actually add these frames would be somewhat immaterial. The projection screen would ideally be square format as well, and to really use the technique to best effect, the expansion/contraction/rotation/reorientation of the frame would have to be used sparingly and with good taste; making it a surprise and a treat, not the norm.

    I think it's important to use a larger format, like IMAX. Otherwise, I think the viewers will feel cheated out of resolution, size, etc. But, imagine watching a movie for 20 minutes and nothing seems out of the ordinary, and voila, suddenly the world in which you are engaged expands and becomes more salient, present and encompassing; literally as if the 'blinders were taken off'.
     
  8. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Umut, where did you read this by the way? I'd like to see what he says about it.
     
  9. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Chris,

    I can send the book if I can find. I have thick two Turkish translations. Wait , let me find at internet.

    Umut
     
  10. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Eisenstein lived at extreme years , saw ww1 and ww2 and been in the soviet revolution. His priority has been never a new Love Story , he wanted to give strong mesage. It was not for lazy people but a people surrounded by many contradictions. It was fast years and peoples moral , aims , lives were needed a punch.
    And Marx , Engels , Lenin , Stalin ideas were important. Thats why he build dynamic frame , dynamic color and montage ideas. For example Czars Soldiers hit the workers and after that a animal slaughtery scene had been put.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I think Woody Allen has used this technique in some of his movies.

    Generally when the shot includes two people talking to each other. Some times when they are both on the telephone.

    But can I point you to an example? :smile:
     
  12. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I can see the problem from a strictly photographic / aesthetic point of view.

    Imagine his first success, Battleship Potëmkin, a silent movie, in a famous sequence you see the soldiers shooting on the crowd on the giant staircase, and this requires an horizontal framing. Then a pram begins rolling down the stairs, and a mother (in quite bad a shape) looks in horror. The mother would much better work with a vertical or square frame, but the frame is rectangular, so that there is some space on the sides where disturbing elements might detract from the visual message.
    A director will probably try to fill this space with something neutral or modify the scene (closing more on the face) so that it works with the horizontal frame and without distraction, (the mother, I go by memory, has a dark scarf around her shoulders so that the face is highlighted) but it's a constant "work" you have to do in cinema, that you don't do in photography, to eliminate those unwanted disturbing elements from the frame.
    In photography you just cut the frame according to what the subject dictates. In cinema you have to "work-around" this problem which, I suppose, is always in the mind of the director.
    Eisenstein need was probably quite widely-felt in an epoch, in the infancy of cinema, when people probably still thought a lot in photographic terms. The fact that cinema was non-talking probably added importance to the framing, as the only message arriving to the spectator is a visual one.
     
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  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Interesting perspective Fabrizio.

    Today, perhaps we are coming back to this impasse of motion-pictures/photography, wherein DSLRs are capable of movie-quality capture. With "orientation sensors" (??), like those found in iPhones, perhaps these cameras can autonomosly create a dynamic frame and Eisenstein's dream will become a reality.

    However, letterbox television formats put us farther from that aim.
     
  14. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I have a idea , At 1920s , when there was no money to buy newfresh film , many directors were experimenting montage ideas with finished films.
    Now all classical films are available at web and montage softwares are free also.
    My university friend - I introduced him to photography, architecture, sculpture - became on of the worlds best vj and he completes videos with television recordings.
    He is an nuclear engineer , architecture diplomas from major universities and cinema mba. He plays chess blindfolded.
    If you have a will to make an art , everything is at internet. What about youtube , extract the videos from site and make your movie.
     
  15. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Rodchenko http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Rodchenko was hauled up before a Peoples' Revolutionary Council and accused of making photographs that were 'formalistic' another wiki article, and good for a laugh and thus 'derivative' of the works of decadent Western photographers. At his hearing it was revealed that western photographers had also taken pictures of trumpet players from below (along with being a very unflattering angle) and pictures of patterns of apartment balconies: for these sins he fell from the Party's grace.

    Eisenstein was probably trying to avoid the same fate. If variable framing didn't work he might have tried projecting every other reel upside-down (though that would have been derivative of my High School's film club).
     
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  16. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    You dont know anything about him , watch porn at your high school film club. Dont believe anything at wiki.
     
  17. MDR

    MDR Member

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    The British Director Glenn H. Alvey Jr made a short Scifi Movie

    ,with title the door in the wall, using the dynamic frame (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0302508/)
    here a link to the movie trailer:http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=81693
    With the advance of digital cinema projection it should be be possible to use the dynamic frame more often, no constant change of gates necessary. An analogue way would be to black out the unwanted parts of the image during the printing process. I sincerely doubt that the movie going public would accept the constant change of the aspect ratio but from a purely visual point of view the dynamic frame would be an interesting tool for the director and cinematographer.
     
  18. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Eisenstein called it the Dynamic Square, square beeing the white cinema screen

    Some of his movies are available for download at the internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=sergei eisenstein
    and I agree with Umut Eisenstein was a Genius and influenced Filmmaking and Filmmakers like no other Director except for maybe D.W. Griffith.
    And Mr. Lindan Eisenstein wrote the Dynamic Square during his stay in Mexico in 1931, if he had been pressured by Stalin at this time he would never have returned to the Soviet Union. He did get into troubles with Stalin in 1944 for his portrayal of Ivan the terrible (part 2) who had a strong resemblance to Stalin not in looks but in actions.
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the dadaists, russian constructivists, surrealists and bauhaus filmmakers
    did this sort of thing all the time.
    it was revolutionary and a direct response to what was going on in the world.

    these days the world is vastly different.
    that sort of thing tends to be too "artsy" for the general public
    who like everything to be straightforward with no thinking involved.
    translating a dynamic image and montage imagery requires
    the viewer to think, not be spoon fed ...
     
  20. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

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    This "dynamic frame" is often used in commercial films, frequently but not always in combination with a split screen where multiple scenes play at the same time. There was a quite famous scene in "The Thomas Crown Affair" (the McQueen/Dunaway version) with very complex optical printing effects work moving frames of images all over the screen. I have also seen it used frequently where a modern aspect ratio is mixed with the old 1.33:1 ratio representing an older time and a modern wide screen ratio of 1.85 or 2.35:1 represents present day.

    No doubt Eisenstein had big ideas that help define cinema as we know it today. We see his theory and practice of editing in use just about anytime we watch moving picures. The dynamic frame is used sometimes as a useful effect. I think it would distract from the story if used too much.
     
  21. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    John ,

    World is not different , a million of people died at earthquakes , At Iraq , 2.5 million died , at Afghanistan ,
    I dont know , At New York 3000 died in few hours , At Vietnam 9 million died. There is millions lost at Africa.
    I dont know the others. Hollywood made Nicholas Cage as heroic illegal rich smart Weapons Seller movie at the end. What about Japan , Indonesia , China , India ? After few days , CNN stops the news.
    Buy a expensive IPHONE and shut up , where is the movies , news , newspapers , all talk about how Obama is an intellectual guy , they gave him Nobel Peace Prize in his 3th month and he generously and shamelessly accepted it.
    Buy your DSLR and go to Europe , join a tourist attraction and you must shut up or we do know what to do.
    There is immense pressure on intellectuals and propaganda to sleepers.
    In Turkey , they say all of our intellectuals are traders , you bet.
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i don't know umut

    i think the world is very different than it was in 1915.
    we are in a modern post industrial age, the computer age
    where we can call anyone anywhere and see anything anywhere
    in a moment.
    it doesn't take 8 weeks to travel by steamship across the globe just a matter of a day ...
    and atrocities and horrors of war are discovered ... and investigated ..

    the dadaists and their anti-art was a statement against world war 1
    bauhaus, deSijl, the russian constructavists and many others were all making art to celebrate
    the machine and mass production, abstraction and in some cases abstractions based on religion.

    there isn't much of that going on these days. outside of 'art school'

    much of the world is in the 30 second sound byte cycle ( and advertisements are also soundbytes ) ... art is confused for info-tainment ....

    the images, the art forms that were made in those days ( the years between ww1 + 2 ) reflect on the times.
    many artists were revolting against the system, the patriarchal system the " beautiful paintings"
    of the 19th century, and they were angry about what was going on in europe and
    the countries engrossed ww1, and the crumbling of empires in anatolia and russia ...
    these days most of the art is just a re-hashing of something old .... and then there is 15mins
    of viral you tube buzz around it ... and that's it. sure people may be angry about
    the current state of the world and world politics, but they don't invent artforms as a result ...
    between ww1 + ww2 graphic design as we know it was pretty much invented, and cinema painting, and photography were re-invented to a certain extant ...

    i know some of the things you speak of in your country, and some of it reflects on what was going on
    in the first quarter of the 20th century when the world was being re-organized at the expense of humanity.

    the wars, situations and conflicts you mentioned are different than what happened almost 100 years ago,
    back then there was no immediate news coverage with a cellphone,
    unfortunately there were just words and still images
    that could easily be denied for a long long time ... not an instant authenticated digital feed ...
    if there were cellphones and immediate coverage back in the days of the dadaists and world war 1,
    the world would have evolved into a different place.

    in many ways dynamic cinema is "anti cinema" the same way dada art was "anti-art"
    ... fruit from the same tree
     
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  23. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Dynamic Frame has nothing to do with split or multiscreen and yes it is sometimes

    used in commercials but not really in feature Films, the public quiet simply wouldn't accept it neither would the critics. As a visual tool it's quiet effective. The new MTV Generation might accept it, 2 cuts per scene one in form of a change in frame size and the other as jump or slam cut sort of hyper MTV 2 seconds scenes. Roman Polanski used a sort of Dynamic Frame in Rosemary's Baby using the door frame as actual frame (more or less instant vertical frame) and the white wall on left as empty space.But then again Polanski was a graduate of Lodz Film School and was probably aware of Eisenstein's teachings. Another must see Soviet director was Dziga Vertov (camera eye/lens sees more than the human eye). During the 1920's German and Soviet Films were mostly superior to Hollywood productions. Even the Propaganda Filmss were visually better than Hollywood Movies. Today German Movies are for the most pure Dreck and Russian cinema tries to emulate Hollywood.